Not to toot my own horn, but in my pre-food-writer life, I was a bit of a legend in buttercream circles. (Seriously, I wrote the book on it and everything.) I do not settle for subpar frosting, have ridiculously high standards, and have never even once considered frosting one of my delicious homemade cakes with anything that comes out of a can. Every canned frosting I could remember from elementary school cupcake parties and bake sales was sickly sweet, with textures ranging from “uncomfortably grainy” to “congealed candle wax.”
And yet, canned frostings have persevered through the ages and, I assumed, must have gotten better along the way. I decided to put my childhood prejudices aside, and lo and behold, I found that the canned frosting of modern times is not entirely what I remembered! Sure, some products continue the waxy/grainy/painfully sweet legacy of their 1980s predecessors, but after tasting 18 of the most popular frostings on the market, I can confidently say that if you don’t have the time to make your own, store-bought frosting will definitely do.
Competing in this taste test are the three biggest players in the game:
- Betty Crocker
- Duncan Hines
Yes, there are other brands out there, but for the most part, if you’re heading to a grocery store for frosting, you’ll find these brands waiting for you. I blind tasted the 18 most popular frostings sold at supermarkets with nothing but a spoon, cleansing my palate with ice water, and scrubbing my tongue with a paper towel when necessary. (Seriously, I am not kidding with that candle wax analogy.)
After deep consideration and plenty of soul searching, I can confidently say that I’ve found the four best mass-market frostings on supermarket shelves today. Find those in the following slides, along with serving suggestions for each one.